Monday, August 31, 2009

Another reason to avoid Facebook?

I am on Facebook, but as my pseudonym, DaisyDeadhead. I am too nervous about certain individuals locating me (see BAD TO THE BONE reference in my last post) to use my actual name, which as many of you know, is pretty distinctive.

I think the hypnotizing aspect of Facebook comes only when one uses one's real name. Apparently, and in relatively short order, you subsequently hear from everybody you ever knew in your life; it casts quite a spell. I think it can probably be compared to the first time we all signed on (I speak of those of us who did not grow up using computers) and started frenetically searching for people, places and things... and holy smoke, we FOUND em, too. It seemed miraculous and wonderful.

Facebook has the added pleasure of people looking for you, too.

It also has games and puzzles and photo albums and all kinds of nifty applications. It's bloody intoxicating. But there is a down-side, as DEAD AIR regular JoJo tells us. She describes her immersion in "all Facebook, all the time," and then describes how this state of affairs "abruptly ended when I was unceremoniously disabled by their software bot on Friday, August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm, in the middle of my fave game, Pet Pupz."

Huh? Did you even know they did this to people? I didn't.

Jojo describes her Kafkaesque experience:

My offense? Wait for it.......I wrote on people's walls too fast!!!!! *GASP* DUN-DUN-dun. Apparently, one of the lovely drawbacks of Facebook, which I am now finding out about, is that, if you do ANYTHING too fast: comment, add friends, delete friends, send messages, receive messages, write on walls too much, send friend requests, etc., the bot picks up on it as "spamming". Then the person's account gets red flagged as a possible spammer. Earlier this spring, I had been carrying on some simultaneous conversations, via the comment box, on some of my friends' profiles. My commenting ability was promptly shut down for about 6 or 7 days. Since then, if I get too carried away commenting, I had 2 "pink slips" pop up on my screen, warning me that I was engaging in "abusive behavior."
Some of us are not teenagers looking for dates, some of us are GROWN WOMEN who have TYPED all of our adult lives for one company/corporation or I have, as Jojo has. We type FAST. We learned to type our comments in the margins of our lives, when there was time, or (in my case) actually paid for how fast we could type. (Doing transcription, I was actually paid by the word or by the keystroke.)

Lemme wreck that Facebook thingie: boom, boom, boom, clackety-clackety go the keys.

Too fast? Amazing. Capitalism is all about faster-faster-faster, but when we are faster? They penalize you and assume there is something wrong.

And I thought they WANTED people to post and comment? There are certainly millions of opportunities, which seem to be increasing exponentially every time I sign on:
OK, for one thing, Facistbook are the ones that gave us the opportunity to comment on every single brain fart on our newsfeeds. When I first joined in the spring of 2008, all you could do was write on your friends' Walls. Now, you can comment on every quiz, application, status, video, photograph, poll, WHATEVER, that your friends publish. Then when you do so, they shut you down as a spammer. I am seeing more and more people show up in various chat rooms/chat boards, with the same problem I had: "All I did was respond to messages in my inbox", "All I did was write Happy Birthday on my friends' Walls".....etc.
Jojo tried to correct the situation, which she assumed was some bureaucratic error. (And it was, Facebook assumed she was spamming.) But this was still another nightmare:
God forbid there be an actual HUMAN that works there. There is zero customer service. All I was able to do was send an email to, and all I got was a canned "thank for your inquiry, we'll look into it and get back to you in a few days" response. I have dug up every email I can find for Facistbook, to no avail. One of my friends sent me a phone number she found, but you get sent into a general voice mailbox.

My friends even started a group, petitioning for my return. Of course most of you already know that since you all joined. It makes me feel so good to see the names of people I know personally, friends I've met on FB, and people I don't even know who just want to support me. There's a guy named Rudy Arnauts who is doing a series of videos on You Tube, called "Meeting with Mark". He is trying to get Mark Zuckerberg's attention and set up a face to face meeting with him, to discuss this problem and the lack of customer service. His videos are very eloquent and he's the only person who is going to bat for us. Even if your account hasn't been disabled, it COULD happen. I encourage everyone to check out Rudy's 3rd installment.
Jojo describes the feelings she had as she was cut off from all her friends and familiar internet activities, which had become mostly Facebook-oriented.

Then, she got mad:
As my 2 week suspension drew closer, my emotions turned to anger. This is ridiculous. How can a social networking site disable their users FOR SOCIALIZING???? How can a social networking site create "limits" on how much you can do, WITHOUT TELLING YOU WHAT THE FUCKING LIMITS ARE? How can a social networking site give you the ability to comment on EVERYFUCKINGTHING, provide you with a list of upcoming birthdays then penalize you for using the features???? Seriously!!! All they tell you is to go read their Terms of Service which only generally outlines the fact that there are "limits" and if you exceed them, they reserve the right to disable you. And because we don't pay for the site, they don't give a tiny little rat's ass about the users.
Sure sounds like it.

Finally, she gets this email, which is, ummm... as we say here in the south, clear as mud:
"Hi Joanne,

Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive.

Your account was disabled because you exceeded Facebook's limits on multiple occasions when writing on Walls, despite having been warned to slow down.

However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in. Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it.

Once logged in, please slow down the rate at which you write on Walls. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations Facebook"
Well, you're too fast, but we can't say exactly HOW FAST.

Good God.

So, Jojo is back on Facebook, but not on her own terms or in her own style. She says lots of people are getting fed up:
they want to quit Facebook b/c this is happening to more and more people. And now I understand why my friends list fluctuates so much. People come and go, and now I know why.
Yes, I've noticed this too.

I would have joined Jojo's support group (or maybe I did and forgot?), but I don't do a lot of Facebook. Now, I am thinking that isn't such a bad idea.

Because you know what? I type like the wind. ;)


Has Facebook-suspension happened to any of you or your friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, etc? What was the situation? Have any of you attempted to contact customer service, and what was your experience?


sheila said...

Well, damn! lol. Maybe she could get a job as a transcriptionist or a typist for congressional bill writing or something! lol.

I think that's terrible! I never knew there were such rules! How dumb! I have a FB but hardly ever go on. It's all private just for family that I don't see.

JoJo said...

Hey Daisy! Thanks for the plug and posting my story. That's the thing, I type WAY too fast.

Sheila, I am a paralegal. I have to type fast for my job. I don't think I know how to type slowly. lol ;p

Well, you know, I was the kid who was always in trouble for talking in class & passing notes. I shoulda known it'd get me in trouble into adulthood.

Mama Moretti said...

Friend suspended without any explanation. He wasn't big into Facebook and didn't pursue it. Probably lots of people don't.

OM said...

I've just joined (with my real name). I haven't had any long lost school friend looking for me, which is offensive.

John Powers said...

I'm sure you are aware that your moniker is a FB no-no. In the round and around way of the Internet, there's no customer service per se, but customer service probably tracks what blogs say about Facebook.

I like online social networks. But they raise all sorts of complicated issues. I'm glad you're on the case.

Mary said...

Funny story. I've never joined Facebook and as I learn more about it I'm less likely to.

Igroki said...

Yep, been suspended from FB twice. Have merely learnt to be more covert in doing exactly the same activities.

FB is a pox with its undefined limits. I see it merely as a means of free advertising for my blogs.

It's good for chess & scrabble. Other games are hopelessly flawed. Those two games require a large amount of trust that the opponent is not cheating too - best to play friends only.

Martin said...


two points that you should consider

1) There is a reason why sites like Facebook have solely automated service, it is a free service and currently as far as anyone is aware it's not making money, so poor service is what we are all paying for on Facebook

2) For sites like Facebook, combating the spammers is a never-ending task and a far from easy one, the fact that they keep the site relatively free from spam is a sign that they do a pretty good job. But spammers test the system continuously and if they actually tell anyone the limits, you can guarantee that within a very short time, all the spammers will be spamming at a level just below that limit.

I know this is very annoying for people like JoJo and to some extent unfair, but in the situation, Facebook is not being unreasonable and a Facebook contaminated with spam would be far worse. Of course Facebook needs to do better, but this is not necessarily an easy thing to do



N. Rosa said...

I'm not that active on FB, at this point I don't care much for it.

But on Etsy I was "Muted" for sending too many convos in a short span of time. Convos are their in house message system. I had made a treasury, which is a showcase of 12 items you curate. So I convo-ed the 12 sellers I picked to alert them they were in a treasury and they muted me, as if I were spamming. It was only for the weekend or so (can't remember the details now) but what a pain that was. Now I'm very careful to stagger my convos there.

DaisyDeadhead said...

John Powers: I'm sure you are aware that your moniker is a FB no-no.

Can they prove that isn't my legal name? Don't think so. (Someday, may actually make it so!) They would have to sort through all the rock/porn/hip-hop stars with legal names that sound deliberately fake. There are a PARCEL of em, and I don't think they wanna go there.

dieselsandwich said...

I don't have a Facebook because of the slightly more than half serious nickname my friends in school gave to it: Stalkerbook.

And it really does work like that. Most of my friends have been stalked on it. And it's never the guys who get stalked. Just girls.


JoJo said...

Fortunately I have never been stalked on FB, but it's been an invaluable tool to get back in touch w/ long lost friends from school.

I still live in fear that "big brother is watching me", and am worried that my blog post will be read by them and I'll be disabled again. Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth it. One of my friends emailed me yesterday that she was going to write on my wall, "welcome back, Facebook finally smartened up" but then SHE was afraid FB would come after her, so she kept it at "welcome back."

I have no problem with their limits. However, they should TELL us what those limits are. How are we supposed to know we've exceeded them when we don't know what they are? I'm terrified to write ANYTHING anymore on FB, and last night kept it to 2 "thumbs up" comments on some photos I liked. I actually checked this morning to see if my profile was still active. Paranoid much?

Rachel said...

Facebook moves far too slow on my computer for me to get in trouble for too much activity on there, lol. But that would so suck.

I used my real name when I made the account. I tried to change it awhile back from my first and last names to my first and middle name...still my real name, but harder for unwanted peeps to find me, and i read the little thing that said, "We will hunt you down and get you if this is NOT your real name, and we'll know, cause we check that shiz," and I decided it wasn't worth it. I know they can't really come after you when they are minded by bots, but it was going to take x number of hours for the change to take effect, and I just decided to leave it. I wish I had originally made my account with a pseudonym. oh, well.

Marion said...

I'm not on Facebook. I guess I won't join now, either...I type too fast as well! :)

SnowdropExplodes said...

On the whole "real names" thing, I've heard stories of people having their real names rejected as "not real", because those names happened to be of African or Asian origin rather than Western European traditional names. Which, needless to say, carries a huge dose of racism with it; but also highlights just how dumb that rule is in the first place.

Plus, I reckon more people know me personally as some variant on "Snowdrop Explodes" than know me by my real name, so effectively Snowdrop Explodes is a more real name than my official name! But I bet Facebook would never accept it as "real" (not that I would ever get a Facebook account, there are just so many reasons why I don't think it's worth it!)

Jillian said...

Isn't there a problem when disconnection from one service = disconnection from friends, provided that that service is neither phone nor internet service?

Social networking sites seem to have altered people's expectations in terms of friendship/friendship formation. Am I the only non-Facebook user out there who feels like an untouchable sometimes? I've had people I've known for years admit they'd interact with me more if only I'd join Facebook (and not in a "hey we don't live in the same state but we can still play Scrabble together" sort of way). I've had interesting people I've met decline to make my further acquaintance upon realizing I'm not a Facebook user (I'm so old I remember when this used to happen by phone, further meetings or, goodness forbid, e-mail). I've become really frustrated lately with how much socialization, at least within certain age groups, is expected to happen within that medium. That's certainly as much of a lock out as what happens to "spammers" and, heck, I type 90 WPM. It's sort of disconcerting that even if I managed to fight my way over to the same path everyone else is already on, I'd probably still end up locked out due to a flaw that will probably end up undermining the service if they don't find a way of resolving the problem.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Jillian, very insightful and accurate comment... in music circles, it's MySpace. If you're a big fan, you are expected to be there or be square.

JoJo said...

I've always found My Space to be such a "dark", sinister place on the web. I don't like what I've seen of my friends' profiles. Facebook used to be so cheerful and fun, but now that I know Big Brother is monitoring my every click, I'm too terrified to interact like I used to.

I see lots of fake names in my friends list. One friend changed her last name to "Luvinsummer" in June. I have a FB friend named Pepe LePew. I've seen a Marsh Mallow listed. There's another person in my friends list named Wykyd Vyxn.

Unfortunately I am one of those "come find me on Facebook" people too. At least I was. Guess it's back to emailing. lol

ballgame said...

Canada took legal action against Facebook for violating their privacy laws. This is a good summary of the outcome so far.